Who decides to make a pasta bake in the oven when it’s 98 degrees outside? Yep, that’d be me. Poor planning, but it was set in stone. This Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and Cheese was good. Not great, but good. The top layer, with all the crusty goodness, was really good. I think this is a recipe you could play with to make great instead of just good!
Back up for just one minute – I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but I’m going out of town this weekend! I’ll be visiting a friend in Baltimore, MD and I couldn’t be more excited. Friday is a much-needed day off and I’m really excited to go on a little trip and see a good friend!
I take off tonight at 8:40 p.m. – wish me some flying luck!
OK back to the pasta.
The recipe is from Cooking Light and is actually somewhat lengthy. Like I said, play with this recipe to make it your own – I think it has strong potential!
2 cups chopped onion (this is half what the original recipe calls for! even for an onion-lover like me, that’s a ton)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 cups milk/broth (I used a combo of milk and chicken broth and it worked well)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup (4 oz) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp grated lemon rind
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs), divided
Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 minutes or until almost al dente. Remove from heat; stir in spinach. Let stand for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts. Drain pasta mixture well.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion; cook until soft and somewhat brown, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add milk/broth and wine; cook 8 minutes or until sauce boils and thickens, stirring constantly. Stir in 3/4 cup cheese, salt, and rind. Remove from heat; stir in pepper. Add pasta mixture to onion mixture, and toss gently to coat.
Spoon the pasta mixture into a glass or ceramic baking dish (mine was 9X9 I believe) coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle half of panko breadcrumbs over pasta, and top evenly with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Sprinkle the remaining half of panko breadcrumbs over cheese. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until browned and bubbly.
Like I said, it was good. The crunchy top was the best part. The lemon taste took a bit of getting used to, but I didn’t dislike it and thought it went well with the pasta. Make it your own – let me know if you try it!
I’m headed to Baltimore – I’ll have one more post up tomorrow, and then we’ll meet back here on Sunday! :) Have a great Thursday!
Question: Every been to Baltimore? Anything that’s a must-see, must-do, or must-eat?